Player Spotlight: Kate Freiheit

For anyone who questions the value of an Internet presence in recruiting students, Kate Freiheit, a sophomore on the university’s women’s cross country team, is a testament to the fact it works.

“I went to Wisconsin-Stout last year, but it became obvious pretty quickly that it was not the place for me,” Freiheit said. “I was doing a random Internet search for Christian colleges when I came across the ‘George Fox’ name. I was intrigued by what I read, and I knew that Oregon was a big running state, with things like the Nike headquarters and the University of Oregon programs, so I prayed about it and just knew this was where I wanted to come. I got my release from Stout, contacted coach (Jeff) Larson and then admissions, and here I am.”

Freiheit had to come a long distance to get to the Newberg campus: Her home is in Hayfield, Minn., a small Midwest town about 30 miles west of Rochester and the famed Mayo Clinic. People have noticed right away that she is not a local.

“My friends say they love my Minnesota accent,” she laughs, “even though I don’t think I have one. My name means ‘freedom’ in German, which is my dad’s side of the family.  My mom’s side is from Norway, and my great-grandmother was from Poland, so I’ve got a lot of different kinds of European in me.”   

Freiheit’s fall cross country season did not go as smoothly as she had hoped. She was ill the day before the Bruins’ opener at BYU-Hawai’i but competed anyway, then tweaked an Achilles tendon in her heel that knocked her out of competition for a couple of weeks.  She returned to set a personal 5K record in the Charles Bowles Invitational at Willamette University, only to re-tweak the injury when she stepped in a pothole at the Lewis & Clark Invitational. She came back to set a personal 6K record in the Northwest Conference Championship.

Also a track runner who specializes in the 800, 1,500, and 5,000 meters, Freiheit is eagerly anticipating the Bruins’ 2011 track and field season.

“I know we almost won the conference championship last spring despite no points in the distance events,” she said, “so if I and the rest of the cross country team can help in that area, I think we have a real good chance of winning it this year.”

A youth ministries major at George Fox, Freiheit has a goal of eventually working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, having attended the FCA’s sports camps for three years and their leadership training camp last summer.